May 8: Beersheba stabbing
How many more tragic deaths are we going to read about until Knesset amends law against carrying dangerous knives?
Sir, – Another tragedy from a knifing is reported by The
Jerusalem Post (“Beersheba father of 2 killed after asking teens to quiet down,”
How many more tragic deaths are we going to read about until the
Knesset amends the law against carrying dangerous knives, and empowers the
police to freely conduct body searches without having to look for a judge in
order to obtain a search warrant? We are quick to blame our police, but the
blame is certainly not theirs.
One is asked by every security man at the
entrance to every public place whether he or she is carrying a firearm.You will
never ever be asked if you are carrying a dangerous, illegal knife! Perhaps we
need an Émile Zola to shake up our judiciary.
Sir, – News of the murder of Gadi Vichman reminds us once again the extent to
which youths who roam the parks on Friday nights are undisciplined and have no
respect for society or themselves.
Perhaps the time has come for the
Ministry of Education to bring into the curriculum a one-hour-a-week lesson that
teaches and instills discipline, respect and derech eretz.
this murder is the last.
Sir, – “Entitled” is the
word that comes to mind regarding those rowdy, noisy and violent youths who
congregate in parks late at night everywhere in Israel. Indeed, in a
conversation with one, he insolently claimed that he could be as noisy as he
liked and do whatever he wanted until 11 p.m., and there was not a thing I could
do! The apparent disregard by the police to the telephone calls from and
subsequent murder of Gadi Vichman is not surprising, as I have encountered
similar indifference where I live. Pleading with the police or those who answer
middle-of the-night municipal hotline (106) calls asking them to establish some
peace and quiet have been to no avail. When I called 106 and then the police at
about 2:30 a.m. on Independence Day eve, they told me the youth were free to do
what they liked and nothing would be done.
It is rare that the raucous,
smoking and drinking youths sitting on the fence of my building, close to my
window, acquiesce to my appeals to move to the park 50 meters away. Calling 106
is usually effective only until the municipal patrol car leaves, whereupon the
youth continue shouting, screaming and singing at the tops of their voices,
drinking, breaking bottles and playing music from their cars loud enough to
rattle my windows.
It is obvious that apathy, helplessness and a lack of
accountability rule the authorities, whereas our youth continue having a good
time at the expense of all.
The morning after, the municipal workers
clean up the mess of broken bottles, pizza boxes and piles of nutshells
scattered throughout the park. And so a new day begins....
Sir, – With regard to “The times they are a changin”
(May 6), everyone knows that at the height of summertime, Shabbat ends much
later than 8 p.m., often after 8.30 p.m. Up to now a religious Jew had the
chance to watch Channel 1’s Mabat evening news after Shabbat, as it began at 9
It is only right that the “official” Israeli channel consider and
serve all of its citizens, including the religiously observant.
all this talk about a “Jewish” country?
Ah, the Irish
Sir, – I see that the popular band Dervish has decided to cancel its scheduled
concerts here (“Irish bands bow to cultural boycott,” Arts in Brief, May
It was interesting to read on the band’s website about the inner
turmoil in making such a difficult decision while wishing to avoid taking sides.
It brought to mind some Irish history.
If I remember correctly, Ireland
somehow was able to remain neutral during World War II while millions were being
slaughtered on the continent.
Let’s not forget what was happening to the
English people just across the Irish Sea during the blitz. That, too, must have
been a hard decision to make.
Just imagine having to take sides against
the brutality of the Nazis. Whew! HOWIE KAHN
Sherman and ‘Haaretz’
Sir, – Martin Sherman (“‘Haaretz’ vs the Jews,” Into the Fray, May 4) castigates
the Left for running an “unambiguous campaign for the conversion of Israel from
the “nationstate of the Jews” to “a-state-ofall- its-citizens.” But one surely
does not preclude the other.
The choice is not between a Zionist greater
Israel and a post-Zionist state denuded of its Jewish identity.
Sherman of Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which, while unequivocally
endorsing “the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own
country,” states: “The State of Israel will foster the development of the
country for the benefit of all its inhabitants.
It will ensure complete
equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of
religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience,
language, education and culture.”
Israel can and must retain its identity
as the nation-state of the Jewish people. This is entirely compatible with the
aspiration of our founding fathers to respect the rights of minorities and
strive for equality on every level for all the country’s
Sir, – Bravo to Martin
He certainly read the riot act to Haaretz, in no uncertain
Haaretz should hang its head in shame. Israel has lost some 23,000
military personnel and civilians in eight wars of Arab aggression and two
intifadas. It is chutzpah for that newspaper to suggest that Israel understand
the sadness and sensitivity of the Arabs living in Israel who lost their land
and their honor.
I wish to remind your readers of the genocidal threat
made by the Arab League’s secretary-general on the eve of the War of
Independence: “If the Zionists dare to establish a state, the massacres we would
unleash would dwarf anything which Genghis Khan and Hitler
Sir, – I want to express my
incredulousness about Martin Sherman and his assault upon the Israeli Left and
Haaretz. I say this because elsewhere in the world the newspaper is becoming the
voice of conscience for a nation that sometimes appears to be rapidly losing its
Sherman speaks about post- Zionism, whatever that
To me it refers not to those who uphold the universal values
inherent in the Zionism that created the state, but rather to the departure of
renegades who apply socalled Zionist principles and voodoo fundamentalism to
stealing land that by the time Israel came into possession of it was no longer
up for grabs by any moral or international standard.
minister boasts to the world of the country’s great democracy, something that
Haaretz, and not he, truly believes in. For that matter, Sherman’s own version
thereof reminds me far more of South Africa’s during apartheid and as such only
gives fodder to those who, rather unfairly, make such a comparison.
I often disagree with Haaretz’s positions, when I read this outstanding and
courageous paper I’m reminded of the great prophets of old, like Isaiah, whom we
revere for having said unpopular things, often at the risk of their lives.
Haaretz tells us to take responsibility for ourselves and what “we” do, not what
“they” do. This has everything to do with retaining our most cherished Zionist